Nunavut’s second beer and wine store to open within a year

Announcement comes almost three years after Rankin Inlet voted “yes” in a plebiscite

Finance Minister George Hickes has confirmed that Rankin Inlet will get a beer and wine store within the next 12 months. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Dustin Patar

After a long multi-year process, Rankin Inlet is set to become the next community in Nunavut with a beer and wine store.

Finance Minister George Hickes confirmed as much during the first day of the winter sitting of the territory’s legislature, on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Cathy Towtongie, MLA for Rankin Inlet North–Chesterfield Inlet, asked Hickes, who is also responsible for the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission: “Does the government plan to open a beer and wine store in the community of Rankin Inlet within the next 12 months, yes or no?”

“Yes,” replied Hickes.

It’s been nearly three years since Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay both voted “yes” to beer and wine stores in non-binding plebiscites.

Later that year Iqaluit’s beer and wine store, a pilot project requested by the city, opened amid both fanfare and skepticism.

As her final followup question on the subject, Towtongie asked Hickes what specific lessons have been learned from that project.

While Hickes didn’t answer the question specifically, he did take the opportunity to tout his department’s newly created survey that asks Nunavummiut for their feedback on Iqaluit’s store, which will allow his department to complete its analysis.

At the same time, Hickes did acknowledge that the import of hard spirits has dropped “dramatically,” which was one of the objectives when opening the beer and wine store.

While the city asked that the store in Iqaluit be a pilot project, the store in Rankin Inlet will not bear that same “pilot” distinction.

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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by Shane Tulugak on

    Screw the beer and wine store in Rankin, open up something else for the youth

    • Posted by False Dichotomy on

      It’s doesn’t have to be an either or. 2/3 of the community voted for this remember.

      • Posted by Shane Tulugak on

        Then nunavut needs a rehabilitation/addiction center opened up, flying south costs a fortune for rehab.

  2. Posted by Duff on

    Although this issue will definitely bring up emotional concerns and negative feedback, it’s the right direction for Nunavut to become less of a nanny-state and allow Nunavumiut to be more like the average Canadian where they are free to make their own decisions and allowed to do as they please.
    We should make a point to hamlet councils and the legislature that we should not act like colonizers where they would say what we could or can’t do.

    • Posted by Sandra nichol on

      I agree with your comments but would add that other ordinary communities in Canada also have addictions treatments programs in place…something that has been asked for here for years …why the liquor store without the treatment centre.

  3. Posted by Joe Tuimi on

    And yet there’s no rehabilitation centre in nunavut and there trying to open another beer and wine store, why not get a marijuana dispensary in nunavut instead of a another beer store.

    • Posted by Tax dollars on

      1. Less money for bootleggers; more $ for the govt to fund programs like treatment
      2. Less people spending thousands on Smirnoff and more on less harmful beer and wine

  4. Posted by Stan on

    If it wasn’t for former minister from ikaluktutiak there be no beer & wine store at all. Now there will be 2. He should be proud because he was attacked hard by mlas, especially okalik, for saying a b & w store would reduce bootlegging and get people drinking less hard stuff. He refused to be bullied. Now NU govt making $ off b & w sales.

  5. Posted by Rankinmiut on

    Yay to beer and wine store. I’d like to buy a bottle of wine at the end of the work week. The sales will be monitored and limited per purchase/day and people won’t be ordering in as much hard liquor.
    Let’s get rid of the bootleggers!

  6. Posted by Kitikmeot on

    Where is our store in Cambridge Bay? We said three years ago that we wanted one. Will we get ours within the next 12 months? Put the bootleggers out of business and fulfill your duties to the people of our community by opening our Beer & Wine store!

    • Posted by Annie on

      Need talk to our new mla. But she too quiet. Don’t know what she does. Hope next time get mla with a voice.

      • Posted by Bert T Nose (aka Boomer) on

        I’m pouring back a glorius, frothy case of cold beers to honour the valiant warrior leader from CB who defied the lord loving dinosaurs in downtown Iqaluit and commanded “there shall be a beer and wine store” …and with those words it was so.

        And as penance I shall stop wearing baggy sweat pants and dirty plaid shirts.

        This mighty warrior believed in the IQ beer drinkers. They believed in him. I’ve seen the light! Bottoms-up!

        Those Kitikmeot MLAs are bada$$. I am available for hire if you need advice on anything. Call me? Please?
        PS. I love you

        Hail to the beer gods!

        • Posted by A Rose by any other name on

          Fill with mingled cream and amber,
          I will drain that glass again.
          Such hilarious visions clamber
          Through the chamber of my brain —
          Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies
          Come to life and fade away;
          What care I how time advances?
          I am drinking ale today.

      • Posted by Nunavutmiut on

        Why don’t you ask her instead of assuming. Some people! 🙁

  7. Posted by Resolute on

    Open one in Resolute also.

  8. Posted by Welcome to the Farce on

    Can you imagine a beer and wine store being opened in Rankin Inlet and then the one in Iqaluit being shut down after its evaluation?
    So much for evaluating the Iqaluit Beer & Wine store.
    It brings in revenue for the GN to spend, so it must be good.

  9. Posted by Arviat guess on

    Can u open one on arviat to PM Joe s do something to arviat for a change before u get no more votes

  10. Posted by Ted on

    Former mla KPeterson should get award for starting beer & wine store. No one supported him. When other mlas turtled he didn’t back down. Too bad never became premier. Who is CB’s mla now?

    • Posted by Bill on

      I could not agree more Ted. Peterson always does the right thing and never takes the easy way out. Although, I would go so far as saying that he can do even better than Premier. He would serve Nunavut greatly if he ever ran in the federal election.

  11. Posted by Putuguk on

    People are going to drink. That genie got out of the bottle a long time ago. See this for what it really is – a food security and carbon reduction initiative.

    Without a beer and wine store in Iqaluit or Rankin, you had to airlift it in. That old booze had a huge carbon footprint. Shipping the beer and wine in on sea-lift then walking over to the store to get your brews is much kinder to the planet.

    Way less booze on the planes means more room for fresher veggies and other produce. Booze does not spoil so it should not be shipped by air. So it helps food security too.

    Whether it reduces consumption or, creates more social problems is really not the issue. They could stay the same and it would still be a good thing. It is being kinder to Mother Earth.

    I am just amazed GN did this without burning through a whole bunch of poverty reduction and climate change adaptation money.

  12. Posted by sade on

    Since the Beer and Wine Store opened, I have never seen so many drunks on the streets.
    Are you happy GN?
    Our Shelter is full and there is no other place to turn to.
    GN just salivates over the money it is making; it does not take into account, the shattered lives of women and children!
    Let’s scale back the amount to be purchased, as was the recommendations of the Nunavut Task Force on Liquor !

  13. Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

    I am a drinker on regular basis, and the B&W store is convenient for most of us. I But i will say, as Inuk born and rise here in Iqaluit the store has brought more harm then good, how many more crimes were reported? how many death were there as a result from the B&W store? Like I said it is convenient for most of us, but at what cost? how many lives have been destroyed, lost for the convenient of having a store. Oh and by the way to all the GN officials, the store did not cut or shut down the bootlegging business at all, if anything PPL want more from them then before, and are ordering more now.

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